The UK and Ireland are in for a real treat this year for cycling fans with the two most iconic races of the calendar hosting their first stages on our shores. The perhaps better known Tour de France is starting in Yorkshire this July (see the climbs of stage 1 and stage 2 parts one and two!) but the arguably more glamorous and exciting Grand Tour will be travelling around the beautiful countryside of Northern Ireland and down to Dublin. The first stage is a 22km team time trial where each 9-man squad will attempt to make a choreographed blur of carbon and lycra through the streets of Belfast with the time being taken on the 5th rider across the line, but as always, it’s the hills which interest me the most as it is the key aspect of professional cycling that is open for all of us to easily try for ourselves on the roads used by the professionals themselves. Continue reading
VeloViewer has partnered up with 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs’ Simon Warren to provide an all-time leader board for the best climbs in Britain. If you’re not already an owner of these great books then you MUST get them on your next birthday wish list as they are fantastically inspirational and perfect for planning rides or even holidays. But who’s ridden the most and who is the fastest (ok, that’ll most likely be Tejvan)? Time to join the 100 Climbs Strava Club and see how you compare.
We all can watch the Pros smashing up the classic climbs on TV and wouldn’t it be great to have a go yourself! But unfortunately not many of us have the luxury of having any of those climbs on our own doorstep. However, what you can easily do using VeloViewer is to find which of your local climbs is the most like one of the classic climbs and then compare or attempt to match your time with that of the Pros. Here’s how to do it.
This is something I’d been wanting to do for ages and I’ve even surprised myself with how well they’ve turned out! The majority of elevation profiles you see around the cycling world look like they were drawn in the late 1990’s so it was time to bring them up to date and make the most of the latest technologies to allow you to interact with them.
In a previous post I covered the climbs of the first half of stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France on its way from York to Sheffield (also available is the climbs of stage 1). This post will cover the remaining climbs of the stage that could well be providing a safe pairs of shoulders for both the Yellow and Polka Dot Jerseys for a good number of days. Holme Moss is certainly the biggest climb of the day but the many small and steep climbs (and slippery, twisty descents) on the run-in to Sheffield are more likely to cause the upsets and there is a real sting in the tail with up to a 33% gradient on Jenkin Road just a few km from the line. Tom Boonen and Matt Goss both crashed fairly badly in this area during the 2006 Tour of Britain but hopefully those won’t be the kind of headlines of the day.
Stage 1 may well have been one for the sprinters but stage 2 is being heralded as a proper, Yorkshire, Northern Classic of a stage and that means plenty of climbs. The route takes in almost 4000m of climbing along its 208km starting in North Yorkshire, passing through West Yorkshire, dipping its toe ever so slightly into Derbyshire before the grand finale in South Yorkshire. There are so many climbs that I’m splitting them up over 2 blog posts! In this post we’ll cover the route from the start at York Racecourse up to the climb of Cragg Vale and here you will find Part 2 with all the remaining climbs all the way to Sheffield.
Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de France will travel from Leeds Town Hall to the spa town (and home of Yorkshire Tea) of Harrogate in just over 200 km (around 2800 m of climbing) and a sprint finish (and a British Yellow Jersey?) is anticipated. But this stage is by no means flat and if you are planning on riding the stage then you might be interested in knowing what you are letting yourself in for.
Holme Moss is a bit of a classic around these parts, particularly because it usually requires a fairly long loop and another major climb to get back home again, but also because it is one of the highest roads in the area and at 524m will be the
highest 2nd highest (Buttertubs Pass is 526m!) point visited by the 2014 Tour de France during its stay in England. Never ridiculously steep, the climb puts its efforts into psyching you out by laying out the snaking finale in front of you with the majority of the climb still remaining. The Mont Ventoux’esque transmitter tower that sits at the summit of the climb is so unmistakably apparent it is impossible ignore what’s in store.
The Buttertubs Pass from Hawes in North Yorkshire will be one of the first climbs taken in by the 2014 Tour de France in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. I’m not going to attempt to regale you with tales of my epic ascent of the climb as I can only remember about 25 metres of it (and I don’t think I’ve ever regaled anything very well) so I’ll stick to what I know and provide the cold, hard stats!
Photo: Kreuzschnabel/Wikimedia Commons, License